Call to improve quality of construction projects
Faced with prominent quality control problems in the construction sector, the State Council has called for national efforts to improve the quality of construction projects and related quality assurance systems.
A guideline published by the Cabinet on Sept 24 said the overall quality of the country's construction projects has steadily improved in recent years, but quality problems of various kinds still occur occasionally due to the large number of projects and their wide geographic spread.
According to the guideline, project owners bear the primary responsibility and should strengthen quality control throughout the whole process, strictly carry out legally required procedures and fulfill their responsibility for quality.
Project contractors are required to improve their quality control system, promote the standardization of project quality control and establish a system that can identify the responsibility for every project and of every employee, it said, adding that subcontracting will not be allowed.
According to the guideline, house owners and users should properly utilize and maintain the premises, and changing the main body of a house and its bearing structure without authorization is forbidden.
The government's quality supervision during the whole project construction process will be strengthened, with government procurement of such services encouraged. Supervision of project design will be enhanced to increase the overall safety of structures, including their fire safety, it said.
The guideline also required efforts be made to reform the way construction projects are organized. Engineering, procurement and construction management should be implemented, with one contractor responsible for all key steps. It should also fulfill its responsibilities in project quality and security, schedule control and cost management.
To improve the bidding system, it said tendering and bidding procedures will be simplified and put online, with remote assessment also carried out.
The guideline also said that environmentally friendly construction methods will be advocated. The criteria and evaluation system for environmentally friendly building materials will be improved, with higher standards for energy-saving products.
Pilot work will be encouraged in qualified areas in order to explore experiences that can be replicated and promoted, the guideline said.
Maintenance of rural roads emphasized
China will take a series of measures to deepen reform of the management and maintenance of rural roads, vital public infrastructure that is important for fighting poverty and revitalizing rural areas.
By 2035, a complete and effective rural roads maintenance mechanism will be established, according to a guideline published by the General Office of the State Council on Sept 23. By then, basic public services for road traffic in urban and rural areas will be equal and road conditions and the surrounding environment will be greatly improved.
The guideline also set a goal of specifying the responsibilities and powers of related departments by 2022 and attracting the participation of social investment in supporting rural roads in the same time frame. By 2022, no less than 75 percent of rural roads should be medium-level or above.
According to the guideline, road maintenance fees will be replaced by new revenue from fees and tax reforms on refined oil, and no less than 80 percent of transfer payments from those reforms should be used to maintain existing roads - not building new roads.
The State Council also required more financial support for maintaining rural roads, intensified supervision and management of road maintenance funds, and innovation of investment and fundraising mechanisms for the development of rural roads, the guideline said.
In order to establish a long-term mechanism for the maintenance of rural roads, market-oriented reforms will be accelerated, a credit evaluation mechanism with quality standards at its core will be established, and efforts will be made to study and formulate rules and regulations regarding rural roads, it added.
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